Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Maybe It's The Discipline

Mindfulness works as a therapy to increase impulse control.  While the results of practice are well-researched, the neurological mechanisms are indeterminate.   Something about mindfulness practice actually changes the cortical make-up of the brain.  Why this happens is not yet known.  It could be the focused attention or the release of judgmental thoughts.  Or, it could be the discipline.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Meditating with Purpose

If mindfulness is the sharpening of one’s ability to notice, then perhaps this noticing can be applied to the subtle changes in thoughts, behavior, and emotions that precede or come concurrently with the onset of a mood change or a psychotic episode.  One changes as one enters any psychiatric episode.  Noticing these changes can enable the individual to take whatever steps are necessary, and effective, to head off a debilitating psychiatric break.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Simple Practice

Here's a simple meditation technique that anyone can fit into their schedule.  It’s called the Twenty Breaths Practice.  It only takes a few minutes, can be performed almost anywhere, and can yield great stress relief.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

ACA Open Enrollment

The Health Insurance Marketplace of the Affordable Care Act is open for enrollment.  Despite much back and forth in politics and the press, all plans in the marketplace still include full coverage for mental healthcare.  Don't be left without coverage.

From NAMI:

November 1, 2017 was the first day to enroll, re-enroll, or change a 2018 insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

*Important Notice:  The 2018 open enrollment period is shorter than in previous years, so it's important to act quickly. The last day to enroll in or change a plan for 2018 coverage is December 15, 2017. Coverage will begin January 1, 2018. Those who do not purchase a plan may be subject to a penalty, as well as being uninsured for the year.
To preview plans and enroll, visit or call 1-800-318-25961-855-889-4325 (TTY) for more information.
For free assistance with applications or related questions, call a Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator at 1-855-274-5626

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

How To Begin Meditating

Meditation is quite different from sitting there doing nothing, thinking nothing.  It is instead a focused attention on one’s present experience.  A chance to minimize the distractions that pull one away from the present. Pleasant events are often spoiled by comparison to other good experiences or worry that this wonder may soon end.  Difficult experiences are often tempered by a desire for escape and the fantasy of being somewhere else doing something else.  The mind will wander all over the place and our present experience, good or bad, may be missed.

So meditation becomes a practice.  A practice to remain here, in the present moment, fully aware.  It is something that must be practiced to achieve benefit, and the practice, though simple, can be extremely challenging.  But the benefits, as described in other posts and in countless others’ experience, are worth it.

So how does one begin?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

New Meditation Class

I'll be teaching a mindfulness meditation class at Mama's Wellness Joint (11th and Pine in Philadelphia) on Tuesday evenings in November.  For information or to sign-up, click on this link:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our Fear of Silence

The cultivation of mindfulness requires periods of focused attention.  Many proponents of mindfulness maintain that this is best developed through seated, silent meditation.  So, while I’d like to investigate how to focus the attention, we must first consider our relationship with silence.

Whether in the center of a city or deep in a forest, the cacophony of sounds around us makes it apparent that true silence is impossible.  Composer John Cage wrote music that included long periods of silence.  When the musicians stopped playing, concertgoers were quickly confronted with the shuffling, shifting, and coughing sounds in the concert hall.  So what is silence?  I like to think of it as the absence of intentional sound.  Intentional sounds are the things we turn on such as TVs and iPods, the words spoken or heard in a conversation we are engaged in, music we make such as humming or tapping, and the noise of tools, keyboards, or other objects we are interacting with.  Sounds that remain are unavoidable.  So silence is when we are purposefully quiet.  For many of us, this can be unsettling.